[Donate link below.] Reb Shalom Mordechai Rubashkin’s lawyers began calling witnesses yesterday to counter allegations against the former Iowa slaughterhouse vice president. The list of possible defense witnesses includes the plant’s former bankruptcy trustee, Joe Sarachek; Postville schools guidance counselor Ron Wahl, who worked extensively with the town’s immigrant population; and Aaron Rubashkin, the family patriarch who founded Agriprocessors, Inc. to produce kosher meat.
Reb Shalom Mordechai will take the stand on his own behalf, defense lawyer Guy Cook said during opening statements. So might his wife, Leah, and at least one of their 10 children.
His brother, Heshy Rubashkin, who helped run the slaughterhouse, is another likely possibility because lawyers have mentioned his name several times in court.
Yesterday morning marked week four of the Rubashkin financial trial in Sioux Falls, S.D. Federal prosecutors concluded their case yesterday after 10 days, 47 witnesses and scores of internal company records.
The prosecution concocted a case on behalf of the government against Reb Shalom Mordechai, but many of their witnesses were shown to have selective memory, while others were discredited altogether.
Reb Shalom Mordechai, however, faces a maximum 1,280-year federal prison sentence if convicted of all 91 financial-fraud charges. The 50-year-old has pleaded not guilty.
Agriprocessors Inc. in Northeast Iowa was the site of a May 2008 immigration raid that caught 389 illegal workers. The raid, one of the largest in American history, forced the plant into bankruptcy six months later. It was then, prosecutors allege, that the court-appointed trustee discovered a plot to defraud the plant’s lender. The defense will prove that the charges are totally unfounded.
Reb Shalom Mordechai will also face 72 federal immigration-related charges in a second trial now scheduled to begin on Dec. 1. He has pleaded not guilty.
Please continue to daven for Shalom Mordechai Halevi ben Rivkah.
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